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Spanish media hails the spirit of golden generation

sports Updated: Jul 13, 2010 00:07 IST

Spain midfielder Andres Iniesta's dramatic extra-time winner against Netherlands in the World Cup final was the crowning moment for a golden generation of players, local media said on Monday.

"Our Spain... From Here to Eternity," daily El Mundo wrote on their front page, while El Pais led with "Champions of the World" over the top of a photo of captain Iker Casillas lifting the trophy above his head in Johannesburg on Sunday.

El Pais continued: "The national team consolidated the leadership of a dazzling generation."

According to consultants Barlovento, 14 million people watched the 1-0 win on television, with the extra-time period the most viewed Spanish broadcast ever, peaking at 15.6 million.

Iniesta's goal was played repeatedly on the morning news channels with the commentators screaming in delight as the players ran to pile on top of the midfielder.

The shy playmaker, who scored a similarly dramatic winner for Barcelona against Chelsea in the Champions League semi-final in 2009, was singled out for special mention along with goalkeeper Casillas.

"Iniesta and Casillas made us champions. Iker twice stopped Arjen Robben from scoring, and Andres scored the historic goal," wrote Barcelona-based daily Sport.

Madrid-based As added: "Holland weren't able to knock him (Iniesta) down with kicks or with a brutal pressing game.

Year of celebration

Tennis world number one Rafa Nadal said Spain’s World Cup triumph was "unrepeatable" and should be celebrated for a whole year.

A soccer fan Nadal was at Johannesburg's Soccer City stadium to watch Andres Iniesta fire the Iberian nation to a first world title with a goal in the second period of extra time.

"We have to celebrate this for a whole year because it will be very difficult to repeat," Nadal said.